Temple University’s executive director of public safety resigns amid growing crime around campus – CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Temple University’s executive director of public safety is stepping down, the school confirmed Thursday. Charles Leone’s departure comes amid a spate of violence and rising crime in and around North Philadelphia campus.

Leone’s resignation takes effect on April 29.

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“I came to Temple almost 40 years ago as a student, and loved this university so much that I never left,” Leone said in a statement. “It’s bittersweet for me to leave now, but I know campus security is in a much stronger position today, and it’s a good time for me personally to step aside and allow a new head to build the department’s strategy for the future.”

Deputy manager Denise Wilhelm will assume the interim role while a nationwide search for Leone’s replacement is underway.

Months after a Temple University student was fatally shot in a robbery, along with other incidents of gun violence near campus and parents raising security alarms, the college makes some changes to help calm the community down.

On Wednesday, Temple University leaders met with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney. They proposed new strategies to address gun violence and keep students safe.

Some strategies include a security upgrade grant program allowing landlords to add cameras and install lighting, increased campus and city patrols – almost doubling the number of officers – a neighborhood watch program to help patrol neighborhoods, and more housing on and near campus will be available for students.

Students tell Eyewitness News they hope these measures are here to stay.

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“Every time an incident happens it seems like there is a surge in police force for a few days or maybe a weekend and then things go down,” said one student. “But I feel like it definitely illustrates another precaution being taken.”

In a rare interview last week, the head of the union representing police officers at Temple University said staffing within the department was at breaking point.

“We’re doing our best,” Alec Shaffer said.

Shaffer told Eyewitness News that the temple police could not “effectively” do their job due to their numbers.

The department operates at 60% officer strength and yet the shootings, robberies and carjackings have persisted, with officers forced to race from incident to incident. To maintain staffing, Shaffer says overtime rates since July have skyrocketed.

“As a department as a whole, we’re at rock bottom,” Shaffer said. “Our agents work day in and day out. We are close to 20,000 hours [of overtime] as working police.

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Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey will audit campus security services. It will start next month.


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